It’s a Labour Day getaway of clear skies in sunny southern California, and Brendan and Rob are trying to cheer up their friend Charlie and are far from subtle about setting him up with Annie, best friend of Rob’s girlfriend Kara. Out on the backroads in the wild and wide forests they think they are untouchable, one harsh incident at the gas farm caused by a misunderstanding with a short-tempered hunter aside.
Arriving at the beautiful luxury log cabin belonging to Kara’s parents they settle in for the long weekend, Brendan setting up motion sensors on the trees by the creek in hopes of remotely photographing the wildlife be it bears or Bigfoot before they settle into the hot tub and get to drinking and partying, unaware of what is unfolding in the wider world.
The news channels are calling it the storm of the century, freak weather conditions across the globe which baffled scientists are calling “a meteorological shift,” but some have an idea what is going on; at Blackbird Military Bunker the senior officers interrogate Romanovich (True Blood‘s Graham Shiels), a prisoner and a witness, while in the derelict cabin next to theirs the hunter (Gallowwalkers‘ Wesley Snipes), a former astronaut turned survivalist conspiracy theorist, watches the skies as strange vessels descend through the swirling cloud…
Directed by Mauro Borrelli, a concept artist and illustrator with credits ranging from What Dreams May Come and Supernova to Captain America: The First Avenger and Dracula Untold, the production values of Final Recall are significantly higher than normally associated with straight-to-disc science fiction horror action movies, and throughout the isolated setting is captured atmospherically.
The lead ensemble, Breaking Bad‘s R J Mitte, Niko Pepaj, Tomorrowland‘s Jedidiah Goodacre, Laura Bilgeri and Hannah Rose May, soon to be seen in Altered Carbon, are on the whole as good as they can be though the script, credited to Reggie Keyohara III and Sam Acton King from a story by Borrelli with additional material by Teddy Wynne, does the actors few favours, reducing the characters to squabbling incapable fools when under pressure.
Deeply derivative even by the standards of a such a mongrel movie, the exposition offered by Snipes is little more than a synopsis of the background mythology of The X-Files, albeit delivered in just over eighty minutes rather than across nine convoluted years, and as the survivors are taken aboard the mothership liberal second hand helpings of The Matrix, Skyline and Extraterrestrial are also served without the originality of a twist to make them more palatable.
Capable of travelling vast interstellar distances only to then run around naked in the woods, the purpose of the alien visitations and their repeated abductions of the same individuals which apparently leave them with perfect hair and makeup does not stand up to scrutiny, nor are the wider global implications or the significance of the prisoner expanded upon or resolved.
At times very much like a more brutal Close Encounters of the Third Kind with added gunplay to allow Snipes to attempt to be cool with out-of-place quips which don’t even approach funny, Final Recall feels more like the pilot for a television series than a standalone film, but with insufficient atmosphere or characters strong enough to care about the signs in the sky do not seem to be encouraging.
Final Recall is available now on Digital HD, Blu-ray and DVD by Signature Entertainment